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Offlee Wild targets Pimlico Special
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Offlee Wild's dominant victory in last weekend's Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap at Aqueduct has earned him a return trip to Grade 1 company, as he will make his next start in the $500,000 Pimlico Special on May 20, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said.
Dutrow may also run Saint Liam in the Pimlico Special, though he is also considering the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 31 or the Stephen Foster Handicap on June 18 at Churchill Downs for that horse.
Offlee Wild won the Excelsior by 8 1/2 lengths in the slop and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 109. He is now 3 for 4 since coming to Dutrow's barn last spring. His only loss in that span was by a neck to Coast Line in the John Campbell Breeders' Cup Handicap in February at Laurel Park.
Dutrow said Offlee Wild came out of the Excelsior "really good. I hope he does that again next time."
Saint Liam, meanwhile, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.40 at Aqueduct on Thursday. It was his first work since returning from Southern California after finishing sixth as the even-money favorite in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 5. Before that, Saint Liam defeated Roses in May in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap. Roses in May won last month's $6 million Dubai World Cup.
Dutrow said there wasn't anything wrong with Saint Liam coming out of the Santa Anita Handicap, he just wanted to freshen him up a little bit.
Dutrow added that he wanted to monitor Saturday's Carter Handicap at Aqueduct before deciding whether to point Saint Liam for the Met Mile.
"If those horses go 22, 45, 1:08-and-three and 1:33, I don't know if I want to do that," Dutrow said. "If no one shows they're a freak and [Ghostzapper] doesn't go, then maybe we'll go."
Dutrow is also looking at stakes for his handicap horses Classic Endeavor and Aggadan. Dutrow said Classic Endeavor is possible for the $250,000 National Jockey Club at Hawthorne or the $200,000 Jim McKay Breeders' Cup Handicap at Pimlico, both on April 23. Aggadan is possible for one of those spots, though Dutrow would prefer waiting for the Grade 3 Westchester Handicap at Belmont, where Aggadan has had his most success.
Dutrow reported that Love of Money, last year's Pennsylvania Derby winner, is still not 100 percent healthy. Love of Money has not run since finishing third in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 5.
Dutrow said Cativa, winner of the Barbara Fritchie Handicap last month, is being pointed to the Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap here on April 23. Yankee Mon, a New York-bred who has won two straight races for Dutrow, is being pointed to the King's Point Handicap here on May 1.
Artie Schiller aimed at Maker's Mark
Artie Schiller, a multiple stakes winner at 3 and the beaten favorite in the Breeders' Cup Mile, will make his 4-year-old debut in the $250,000 Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland on Friday, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said.
Jerkens chose the Maker's Mark over the $100,000 Fort Marcy Handicap here on April 23 because it was worth more money and the uncertainty over the condition of Aqueduct's turf course.
"I would rather stay home, but it's such a question mark with the grass," Jerkens said.
Artie Schiller has not run since finishing 12th in the Breeders' Cup Mile last Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park.
Artie Schiller wintered at Palm Meadows in south Florida but took a while to get into his training.
"He was a little sluggish in his training, but it seems like he's picked it up," Jerkens said, noting that Artie Schiller worked seven furlongs in 1:26.42 over Belmont's main track on Wednesday.
Edgar Prado will ride Artie Schiller in the Maker's Mark, replacing regular rider Richard Migliore.
Smokey Glacken, another Jerkens trainee, has resumed training after recovering from a hind leg problem. Smokey Glacken worked three furlongs in 37.10 seconds on Thursday, her first work in three months. Smokey Glacken has never been worse than third in nine starts, and four of her five victories have come in stakes. Jerkens said Smokey Glacken would likely return during the Belmont meet.
Turf racing likely returns on Friday
The racing office is now shooting for turf racing to begin on Friday, racing secretary Mike Lakow said. Races in the condition book scheduled for the turf on Wednesday and Thursday will now be run on the main track.
Lakow said that track superintendent John Passero said the roots of the course are getting stronger, but that Passero felt more comfortable waiting until Friday to use the course.
"That way we get to look at it Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday and can take entries on Wednesday for Friday," Lakow said.
Forestier takes Classy Mirage
Forestier showed she could sit off another horse and still be successful, as she overpowered She Is Raging at the three-eighths pole and romped to a 5 3/4-length victory in Friday's $60,600 Classy Mirage Stakes.
Storm Minstrel rallied for second, three lengths over Lovethatlegend. Santa Croce, She Is Raging, and Princess Pelona completed the order of finish.
It was the second consecutive victory for Forestier, and fourth from nine career starts. In her last victory, Forestier, breaking from the rail, went gate to wire. In the Classy Mirage, jockey Richard Migliore let She Is Raging go, then guided Forestier outside of that one while sitting second through an opening quarter of 22.56 seconds.
Forestier, a 4-year-old daughter of Forestry owned by Alan Kline, took over From She Is Raging around the turn and cruised home an easy winner. She covered six furlongs in 1:09.95 and returned $5.30 as the favorite.
"The last time I rode her I smooched to her and she ran off," Migliore said, adding that he told assistant trainer Seth Benzel that "I wasn't going to ask her; I would let her break and be real quiet on her. Today was a much stronger, powerful performance."
Benzel, the assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, said Forestier could make her next start in the Grade 2, $150,000 Genuine Risk Handicap at Belmont on May 14.